Ashanti makes a bold return
Ashanti is ready to write the next chapter of her career. And it's going to be a doozy.
At a recent listening session, the Glen Cove native previewed songs from her upcoming "Braveheart" -- the first release on her own Written Entertainment label and distributed by Port Washington-based eOne Music -- and showed that she is ready for a full-on return to music. "It's been tough," she says about working to reintroduce herself to radio with her single "The Woman You Love," featuring Busta Rhymes. "I've been away four years."
However, "The Woman You Love" is already climbing the hip-hop/R&B charts and the process of returning to regular radio rotation should get much easier once programmers and, more important, her fan base get to hear what she's been up to when the album comes out April 17. Ashanti has several tracks that are far more pop-oriented than ones she's had in the past, especially the bubbly "Perfect So Far," which welds a hip-hop vibe to an upbeat, Motown-influenced bass line to create an irresistibly fun future single. On "Never Should Have," she taps into the European dance vibe that has been sweeping hip-hop, crafting a new sound -- like Robyn remixing Murder Inc. classics -- that still somehow sounds familiar.
Ashanti also pushes the envelope in other directions. "This is my street song," she says, cuing up the edgy hip-hop anthem "Get It," produced by Cool & Dre, longtime collaborators with Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes and Fat Joe. The song features a hard groove and the most adult language she has used on record, but it's also catchy enough to be booming out of cars all summer long. "I've done street songs," she says, laughing. "But I've never gone this far before. This is new for me."
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